KENOSHA, WIS – The Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood, Inc. (KIN) recently named Jerry Franke as the organization’s first Executive Director. Bringing a wealth of experience in commercial real estate and economic development, Franke assumes the new role in an interim capacity with a vision to propel the KIN forward. The announcement comes on the heels of the recent groundbreaking of LakeView Technology Academy as the first anchor development on the site of the former Chrysler plant.
“I look forward to working with KIN and the community to begin the development process for the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood,” said Franke. “The project is both a significant challenge and an outstanding opportunity. This site was part of Kenosha’s industrial legacy and through proper development can be a key part of its future. It is not unlike my first project in the Kenosha community 35 years ago when I was hired by WISPARK to begin development of LakeView Corporate Park. Undertaking projects like KIN requires a team effort consisting of elected officials, business leaders, development professionals and engaged residents. I look forward to being part of the team.”
As the first Executive Director, Franke will play a key role in advancing the KIN mission through strategic leadership, economic development, organizational management, community engagement and resource development. Franke will focus on leveraging networks to attract tenants and businesses to the KIN and will be responsible for establishing long-term financial budgets, soliciting financial support from key individuals and organizations, and identifying appropriate grants that will help realize the mission and vision of the KIN.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jerry to our team,” said Tim Mahone, Board President of the KIN. “His impressive experience in the commercial real estate industry combined with his passion for community makes him a great fit for the KIN. Jerry was instrumental in the development of the LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie that began in 1988. As LakeView Technology Academy moves from this site to the heart of Kenosha, it’s a full-circle moment to have Jerry lead the KIN as this important project comes to fruition.”
In his abundant 50-year career, Franke has helped plan more than 4,000 acres of business parks, developed more than 12 million square feet of industrial, distribution and office buildings, and served as the primary developer of mixed-use projects. Franke also started Franke Development Advisors LLC to provide consulting services to municipalities and developers in the commercial real estate development field.
“It is an honor to welcome Jerry Franke to the KIN organization as Executive Director. Jerry brings decades of real estate and economic development experience, and a tremendous network of prospective tenants, investors, advisors, and supporters to the project, said Mark Fedyk, Vice President of the KIN Board of Directors. “More importantly, his personal passion and commitment to this transformative project is unwavering. I am genuinely looking forward to working with Jerry in his new role.”
Franke’s dedication to the community has garnered recognition throughout his career. Franke has been recognized many times for his contributions to the commercial real estate profession, including in the Midwest Real Estate News’ Forty Over Forty and Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame, as well as being named a Midwest Real Estate Icon by the Real Estate Forum. Having served and held leadership on several nonprofit boards throughout the region, Franke is well positioned to define and deliver a regional center that meets the unique and specific needs of neighbors, the broader Kenosha community, visitors and end-users. His experience includes involvement with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation, the Mount Pleasant Community Development Authority, Forward Wisconsin, Downtown Racine Corporation, United Way of Kenosha County, Milwaukee Redevelopment Corporation and the Milwaukee Urban League.
About The Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood, Inc.:
The Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood, Inc. is a non-profit organization led by a volunteer board of directors composed of local and regional leaders dedicated to fostering economic recovery, improving economic sustainability and resiliency, and ensuring equitable community access to prosperity through the development of the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood (KIN). The KIN, the revitalization and transformation of 107-acres of vacant land in the heart of Kenosha, is a collaborative, mixed-use project that is bringing the community together to define and deliver a regional destination with sustainable, innovation-focused office, medical, educational, commercial, residential and recreational space that meets the unique needs of neighbors, the broader Kenosha community, visitors and end-users. Learn more about the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood at www.kin-kenosha.org.